The outcome of the Roseacre Wood fracking inquiry, which ended last week, will be decided by James Brokenshire.
He was appointed Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government this morning. He replaces Sajid Javid, who became Home Secretary following the resignation of Amber Rudd.
Mr Brokenshire was Northern Ireland Secretary until January this year, when he resigned to undergo treatment for lung cancer.
Since 2010, he has represented the Conservative stronghold of Old Bexley and Sidcup , which has no current oil and gas licences. A search of his parliamentary speeches reveals no results for fracking or shale gas. Before going to Northern Ireland he spent two years from 2014 as an immigration minister.
He tweeted that he was especially looking forward to building “the homes our country needs”.
A former Communities Secretary, Greg Clark, announced in November 2015 that Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood appeals would be decided by the Secretary of State, with a recommendation from the planning inspector.
The inspector at the 2016 public inquiry recommended refusal of the Roseacre Wood scheme on highway safety grounds, backing up the decision by Lancashire County Council. But Sajid Javid, who replaced Mr Clark in July 2016 after the inquiry ended, said he was minded to allow the appeal. He reopened the inquiry to allow Cuadrilla to provide more information on how it would deal with the safety issues.